I come from a family that is not exactly, shall we say, enamored of throwing things away. As a child I had a knack for believing the packaging the toy came in could be just as much fun as the toy itself. I don't mean this in the sense of a cat happily batting around wrapping paper while its brand new toys sit neglected in the corner (why yes, I give my cat Christmas presents. Don't judge me).
I mean this in the sense of my mother walking into the toyroom and finding childhood!Katie happily enthralled in creating an elaborate environment for her toys to play in, made out of the 'trash' that was the packaging it had originally come in, her toys merely waiting for the scene to be set before they would be added to the play. While this is a somewhat terrifying prospect, I like to think my mother should have been impressed by my capable imagination.
I mean I'm sorry, Mom and Dad.
In any case, I am not the only member of my family who has a hard time parting with anything and is absolutely certain they can find a use for basically everything.
Our best moment so far when it comes to these packrat tendencies has been with the toys.
My niece, when she comes to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house, has her run of a corner of the living room in which basically everything there exists to make her happy. There are books, a kiddie bookshelf, Cabbage Patch dolls, a little horse with hair you can brush and braid, a Playskool shopping cart, a little pink baby buggy, the list goes on and on. And it's kind of fascinating to just watch her go.
Many of those toys are not brand new, but well-loved toys we've held onto. Dolls my sister played with, the baby buggy that was hers, the horses that were once mine, a little "Director's Chair" with Katie written across the back my mother got for free when I was a very small creature.
What I want to show you, however, is Twenty Years of a Tractor.
I would like to introduce all of you to a little picture I call "I'm Sitting on a Tractor Backwards. This is Clearly a Sign of Things to Come."
That is one... clever... baby. Good job, Baby!Me. You figured out how to sit on a tractor. Now if you just figure out how to do so in the right direction, I think we'll be super-genius material in no time.
The tractor in this picture is a toy that a lot of members of my family have played on. It first belonged to my father when he was a kid, in the Long Long Ago.
Okay, so it wasn't that long ago.
I don't have any photos of my dad ridin' around on that tractor in the early Sixties (late 50's? My grasp on time is incredibly tenuous), so you'll have to bear with me here and just believe me that this tractor's life began long before I was even a "Surprise! Another kid!" moment in my family's life.
I love this tractor (even if it is John Deere Green and not International Red, like all good tractors are).
I have always loved this tractor.
And I love that this is my niece Delainey riding on the self-same tractor that has been in our family since my dad was a kid. I love that most of all, although of course that has a lot to do with the part where it is my adorable, clever, somewhat frighteningly intelligent little niece who is the one riding.
As the third kid, I was subject to a lot of hand-me-downs of various kinds. Hand-me-down clothes, hand-me-down toys, hand-me-down books, you name it I got a hand-me-down of it. This was a concept that deeply bothered Childhood!Me, as well as Teenage!Me and even College!Me. I'm not sure why. It wasn't that I didn't like the stuff I was given ever, and by this point I'm mostly grateful for all the awesomeness but apparently I just really wanted to be mad about something and that was all I could come up with.
I'm sorry, Mom and Dad. Did I mention that before?
I did? Well, it's probably good that I mention it again.
I was going to end this with another cute photo referencing something that came up, but uhm, all the other old photos I have I packed up today. Like, an hour ago exactly. After I had already started this post and knew I wanted to end with another old photo I would need to dig out of my box of old photographs.
That I then packed up in a huge box and duct-taped and refuse to go looking for.
See? Clearly that riding-backwards-on-a-tractor thing was a sign.